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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-04-100
Date: September 2005

Safety Effects of Marked Versus Unmarked Crosswalks at Uncontrolled Locations Final Report and Recommended Guidelines

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Research and Development

Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center

U.S. Department of Transportation

6300 Georgetown Pike

Federal Highway Administration

McLean, Virginia 22101-2296


FOREWORD

The Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Research Program's overall goal is to increase pedestrian and bicycle safety and mobility. From better crosswalks, sidewalks, and pedestrian technologies to expanding public educational and safety programs, FHWA's Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Research Program strives to pave the way for a more walkable future. The following document presents the results of a study that examined the safety of pedestrians at uncontrolled crosswalks and provides recommended guidelines for pedestrian crossings. The crosswalk study was part of a large FHWA study, "Evaluation of Pedestrian Facilities," that has produced a number of other documents regarding the safety of pedestrian crossings and the effectiveness of innovative engineering treatments on pedestrian safety. It is hoped that readers also will read the reports documenting the results of the related pedestrian safety studies. The results of this research will be useful to transportation engineers, planners, and safety professionals who are involved in improving pedestrian safety and mobility.

Michael F. Trentacoste
Director, Office of Safety
Research and Development

Notice

This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.

FHWA-HRT-04-100

2. Government Accession No.

3. Recipient's Catalog No.

4. Title and Subtitle

Safety Effects of Marked versus Unmarked Crosswalks at Uncontrolled Locations: Final Report and Recommended Guidelines

5. Report Date

August 2005

6. Performing Organization Code

7. Author(s): Charles V. Zegeer, J. Richard Stewart, Herman H. Huang,

Peter A. Lagerwey, John Feaganes, and B.J. Campbell

8. Performing Organization Report No.

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

University of North Carolina

Highway Safety Research Center

730 Airport Rd., CB # 3430

Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3430

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

11. Contract or Grant No.

DTFH61-92-C-00138

12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Office of Safety Research and Development

Federal Highway Administration

6300 Georgetown Pike

McLean, VA 22101-2296

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final Report: October 1996-March 2001

14. Sponsoring Agency Code

15. Supplementary Notes

This report is part of a larger study for FHWA entitled "Evaluation of Pedestrian Facilities." FHWA Contracting Officer's Technical Representatives (COTRs): Carol Tan and Ann Do, HRDS.

16. Abstract

Pedestrians are legitimate users of the transportation system, and they should, therefore, be able to use this system safely. Pedestrian needs in crossing streets should be identified, and appropriate solutions should be selected to improve pedestrian safety and access. Deciding where to mark crosswalks is only one consideration in meeting that objective. The purpose of this study was to determine whether marked crosswalks at uncontrolled locations are safer than unmarked crosswalks under various traffic and roadway conditions. Another objective was to provide recommendations on how to provide safer crossings for pedestrians. This study involved an analysis of 5 years of pedestrian crashes at 1,000 marked crosswalks and 1,000 matched unmarked comparison sites. All sites in this study had no traffic signal or stop sign on the approaches. Detailed data were collected on traffic volume, pedestrian exposure, number of lanes, median type, speed limit, and other site variables. Poisson and negative binomial regressive models were used.

The study results revealed that on two-lane roads, the presence of a marked crosswalk alone at an uncontrolled location was associated with no difference in pedestrian crash rate, compared to an unmarked crosswalk. Further, on multilane roads with traffic volumes above about 12,000 vehicles per day, having a marked crosswalk alone (without other substantial improvements) was associated with a higher pedestrian crash rate (after controlling for other site factors) compared to an unmarked crosswalk. Raised medians provided significantly lower pedestrian crash rates on multilane roads, compared to roads with no raised median. Older pedestrians had crash rates that were high relative to their crossing exposure.

More substantial improvements were recommended to provide for safer pedestrian crossings on certain roads, such as adding traffic signals with pedestrian signals when warranted, providing raised medians, speed-reducing measures, and others.

17. Key Words

Marked crosswalk, safety, pedestrian crashes

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.

19 Security Classification (of this report)

Unclassified

20. Security Classification (of this page)

Unclassified

21. No. of Pages

112

22. Price

Form DOT F 1700.7 Reproduction of completed page authorized.


SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors


TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1. BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION

HOW TO USE THIS STUDY

WHAT IS THE LEGAL DEFINITION OF A CROSSWALK?

STUDY PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVE

PAST RESEARCH

CHAPTER 2. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS METHODOLOGY

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS

COMPARISONS OF CROSSWALK CONDITIONS

FINAL PEDESTRIAN CRASH PREDICTION MODEL

CHAPTER 3. STUDY RESULTS

SIGNIFICANT VARIABLES

MARKED AND UNMARKED CROSSWALK COMPARISONS

CRASH TYPES

CRASH SEVERITY

LIGHTING AND TIME OF DAY

AGE EFFECTS

DRIVER AND PEDESTRIAN BEHAVIOR AT CROSSWALKS

CHAPTER 4. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

GUIDELINES FOR CROSSWALK INSTALLATION

GENERAL SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS

POSSIBLE MEASURES TO HELP PEDESTRIANS

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

APPENDIX A. DETAILS OF DATA COLLECTION METHODS

APPENDIX B. STATISTICAL TESTING OF THE FINAL CRASH PREDICTION MODEL

APPENDIX C. PLOTS OF EXPECTED PEDESTRIAN CRASHES BASED ON THE FINAL NEGATIVE BINOMIAL PREDICTION MODEL

APPENDIX D. ESTIMATED NUMBER OF PEDESTRIAN CRASHES (IN 5 YEARS) BASED ON THE FINAL NEGATIVE BINOMIAL PREDICTION MODEL

REFERENCES

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1. Pedestrians have a right to cross the road safely and without unreasonable delay.

Figure 2. A zebra crossing used in Sweden.

Figure 3. Sign accompanying zebra crossings in Sweden.

Figure 4. Pedestrian crash rates for the three crossing types by age group.

Figure 5. High visibility crossing with pedestrian crossing signs in Kirkland, WA.

Figure 6. Experimental pedestrian regulatory sign in Tucson, AZ.

Figure 7. Overhead crosswalk sign in Clearwater, FL.

Figure 8. Overhead crosswalk sign in Seattle, WA.

Figure 9. Example of overhead crosswalk sign used in Canada.

Figure 10. Regulatory pedestrian crossing sign in New York State.

Figure 11. Cities and States used for study sample.

Figure 12. Crosswalk marking patterns.

Figure 13. Predicted pedestrian crashes versus pedestrian ADT for two-lane roads based on the final model.

Figure 14. Predicted pedestrian crashes versus traffic ADT for two-lane roads based on the final model (pedestrian ADT = 300).

Figure 15. Predicted pedestrian crashes versus traffic ADT for five-lane roads (no median) based on the final model.

Figure 16. Predicted pedestrian crashes versus pedestrian ADT for five-lane roads (with median) based on the final model.

Figure 17. Predicted pedestrian crashes versus traffic ADT for five-lane roads (with median) based on the final model (pedestrian ADT = 250).

Figure 18. Pedestrian crash rate versus type of crossing.

Figure 19. Pedestrian crash rates by traffic volume for multilane crossings with no raised medians-marked versus unmarked crosswalks.

Figure 20. Percentage of pedestrians crossing at marked and unmarked crosswalks by age group and road type.

Figure 21. Illustration of multiple-threat pedestrian crash.

Figure 22. Pedestrian crash types at marked and unmarked crosswalks

Figure 23. Severity distribution of pedestrian collisions for marked and unmarked crosswalks.

Figure 24. Distribution of pedestrian collisions by time of day for marked and unmarked crosswalks.

Figure 25. Pedestrian collisions by light condition for marked and unmarked crosswalks.

Figure 26. Age distribution of pedestrian collisions for marked and unmarked crosswalks.

Figures 27-30. Percentage of crashes and exposure by pedestrian age group and roadway type at uncontrolled marked and unmarked crosswalks.

Figure 31. Raised medians and crossing islands can improve pedestrian safety on multilane roads.

Figure 32. Pedestrian signals help accommodate pedestrian crossings on some high-volume or multilane roads.

Figure 33. Traffic signals are needed to improve pedestrian crossings on some high-volume or multilane roads.

Figure 34. Curb extensions at midblock locations reduce crossing distance for pedestrians.

Figure 35. Curb extensions at intersections reduce crossing distance for pedestrians.

Figure 36. Raised crosswalks can control vehicle speeds on local streets at pedestrian crossings.

Figure 37. Adequate lighting can improve pedestrian safety at night.

Figure 38. Grade-separated crossings sometimes are used when other measures are not feasible to provide safe pedestrian crossings.

Figure 39. Pedestrian warning signs sometimes are used to supplement crosswalks.

Figure 40. Fences or railings in the median direct pedestrians to the right and may reduce pedestrian crashes on the second half of the street.

Figure 41. Angled crosswalks with barriers can direct pedestrians to face upstream and increase the pedestrian's awareness of traffic.

Figure 42. Pedestrian crosswalk inventory form.

Figure 43. Number of lanes for marked crosswalks.

Figure 44. Marked and unmarked crosswalks had similar traffic ADT distributions.

Figure 45. Response curves with 95 percent confidence intervals based on negative binomial regression model, two lanes with no median, average daily motor vehicle traffic = 10,000.

Figure 46. Response curves with 95 percent confidence intervals based on negative binomial regression model, two lanes with no median, average daily pedestrian volume = 100.

Figure 47. Response curves with 95 percent confidence intervals based on negative binomial regression model, two lanes with no median, average daily motor vehicle traffic = 15,000.

Figure 48. Response curves with 95 percent confidence intervals based on negative binomial regression model, two lanes with no median, average daily motor vehicle traffic = 2,000.

Figure 49 Response curves with 95 percent confidence intervals based on negative binomial regression model, two lanes with no median, average daily pedestrian volume = 50.

Figure 50. Response curves with 95 percent confidence intervals based on negative binomial regression model, two lanes with no median, average daily pedestrian volume = 800.

Figure 51. Response curves with 95 percent confidence intervals based on negative binomial regression model, five lanes with no median, average daily motor vehicle traffic = 10,000.

Figure 52. Response curves with 95 percent confidence intervals based on negative binomial regression model, five lanes with no median, average daily pedestrian volume = 100.

Figure 53. Response curves with 95 percent confidence intervals based on negative binomial regression model, five lanes with no median, average daily motor vehicle traffic = 15,000.

Figure 54. Response curves with 95 percent confidence intervals based on negative binomial regression model, five lanes with no median, average daily pedestrian volume = 150.

Figure 55. Response curves with 95 percent confidence intervals based on negative binomial regression model, five lanes with no median, average daily pedestrian volume = 200.

Figure 56. Response curves with 95 percent confidence intervals based on negative binomial regression model, five lanes with no median, average daily pedestrian volume = 50.

Figure 57. Response curves with 95 percent confidence intervals based on negative binomial regression model, five lanes with no median, average daily motor vehicle traffic = 7,500.

Figure 58. Response curves with 95 percent confidence intervals based on negative binomial regression model, five lanes with median, average daily pedestrian volume = 100.

Figure 59. Response curves with 95 percent confidence intervals based on negative binomial regression model, five lanes with median, average daily motor vehicle traffic = 15,000.

Figure 60. Response curves with 95 percent confidence intervals based on negative binomial regression model, five lanes with median, average daily pedestrian volume = 150.

Figure 61. Response curves with 95 percent confidence intervals based on negative binomial regression model, five lanes with median, average daily pedestrian volume = 200

Figure 62. Response curves with 95 percent confidence intervals based on negative binomial regression model, five lanes with median, average daily motor vehicle traffic = 22,500.

Figure 63. Response curves with 95 percent confidence intervals based on negative binomial regression model, five lanes with median, average daily motor vehicle traffic = 32,000.

Figure 64. Response curves with 95 percent confidence intervals based on negative binomial regression model, five lanes with median, average daily motor vehicle traffic = 7,500.

LIST OF TABLES

Table 1. Pedestrian crashes and volumes for marked and unmarked crosswalks.

Table 2. Parameter estimates for basic marked and unmarked crosswalk models.

Table 3. Results for a marked crosswalk pedestrian crash model.

Table 4. Parameter estimates for marked subset models.

Table 5. Results for an unmarked crosswalk model.

Table 6. Parameter estimates for unmarked subset models.

Table 7. Pedestrian crashes and volumes for marked and unmarked crosswalks.

Table 8. Crashes, exposure proportions, expected crashes, and binomial probabilities for categories of marked crosswalks.

Table 9. Parameter estimates for final model combining marked and unmarked crosswalks.

Table 10. Estimated number of pedestrian crashes in 5 years based on negative binomial model.

Table 11. Recommendations for installing marked crosswalks and other needed pedestrian improvements at uncontrolled locations.*

Table 12. Adjustment factors by time of day and area type used to obtain estimated pedestrian ADT.

Table 13. The number of marked crosswalks that were used in this study, by city or county.

Table 14. Criteria for assessing goodness-of-fit negative binomial regression model.

Table 15. Criteria for assessing goodness-of-fit Poisson regression model.

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